HALIFAX: The story of the Nova Scotia tree for Boston will live on for generations as part of a new monument unveiled on Boston Common to honour the 100th Anniversary of the Halifax Explosion.
Premier Stephen McNeil was joined by Boston Mayor Martin Walsh for the ceremony on November 30. The permanent structure will mark the place of the Nova Scotia tree for Boston on Boston Common, tell the story of the tradition, and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion.
“One hundred years ago, the explosion left our capital city in ruins and devastated so many families,” said Premier McNeil. “Halifax needed help and the people of Boston responded immediately. We have not forgotten that generosity and compassion and we will not forget. This monument honours the 1917 relief effort, our ongoing friendship and the tradition of giving.”
The annual tree lighting and gift of a Christmas tree to the City of Boston is among the legacies of the Halifax Explosion. Boston was quick to provide medical personnel and supplies in the aftermath of the explosion that killed 2,000 people and left thousands more injured and/or homeless.
“I am pleased to announce that there is now a permanent marker on Boston Common celebrating the location of the official Christmas tree given annually as a gift from Nova Scotia,” said Mayor Walsh. “With 100 years of friendship uniting our communities, this historic bond will now be celebrated year-round thanks to the placement of this marker at the place where we gather each year to honour the memories of those who were lost and the Bostonians who went to help the people of Halifax.”
The 16-metre (53 feet) white spruce tree, donated by Bob and Marion Campbell and their family from Blues Mills, was lit up on Boston Common in front of about 20,000 people. The annual event was telecast live to an estimated audience of up to 300,000 on WCVB Boston Channel 5.
Nova Scotia artists Port Cities, Cassie and Maggie, and Reeny Smith performed during the live broadcast.
“We are honoured and excited to perform at this year’s tree-lighting ceremony,” said Breagh MacKinnon of Port Cities. “It is a privilege to be involved in this long-standing tradition, to perform in front of thousands and to be exposed to a new market. We can’t wait to sing for our new friends in Boston.”
Follow “Tree for Boston” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and to learn more about the Halifax Explosion, visit: www.100years100stories.ca.